Programme notesJürgen Klopp: What they've done is special, I'm proud of my players

Jürgen Klopp
By Liverpool FC


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Read Jürgen Klopp’s matchday programme notes in full for the Europa League encounter with Sparta Prague at Anfield this evening.

The manager writes: “We arrive into tonight’s game in a good position but this is all that it is. Yes, we had a good result in the first leg and yes, we know only too well that to the outside world we are already through to the next round but I will stress at the very outset that this is not how we see it.

“The lead that we have is very welcome of course. We had to work really hard for it, though, and I am not sure that the result in Prague was a very good reflection of the game against a good opponent who showed they had both the quality in their team and ability to trouble us even if the scoreline was not necessarily fair to them.

“We did a good job, not a perfect job by any means but a good one, in the face of an opponent that was always willing to take risks so it makes sense that we should expect more of the same tonight.

“For those who believe I am just saying ‘the right things’ to keep my team on their toes you could not be more wrong. The truth is that if the roles were reversed I would still be sending my team out to do everything in their power to turn the tie into a real fight. I have no doubt Sparta will do exactly the same thing.

“For this reason I would like to offer the warmest welcome to Brian Priske, his players and staff to Anfield in the knowledge that they are coming here looking to give us a knock. It is important that we know this because if we did not we would have a real problem. So we have to be ready for what Sparta will bring, respect their quality and look to build on the hard work that was done last week.

“After tonight we have only one more game before the international break and I could not be more proud of how the players have handled a really, really tough period. There have been so many challenges, so many tests and also some problems so to come through it the way they have is really special.

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“Sunday’s fixture against Manchester City was another example of this. I said afterwards that we need the injured players back as soon as possible and, of course, this could not be more true. But at the same time, we dealt with a really tricky situation really well. City are, in my opinion, the best team in the world, so to play the way we did against them, in the second half especially, could not have made me more proud.

“We did not quite manage to get the result that we wanted but we did show from a performance point of view we are definitely ready to stay in the race until the end of the season. That is all you can ever ask for in mid-March. We are still a couple of months away from some of the big prizes being handed out so there is no need to focus on what the season may or may not bring, we just need to keep on going.

“If we can do this then we will see where it takes us. To have won one competition already and still be involved in three others is a big positive but the lessons of why we are in the situation we are in have to keep on serving us well. This means working hard every single day, not looking too far ahead, sticking together on and off the pitch and believing in one another.

“There are never any secrets. The basics are basics for a reason so it makes sense that we should stick with them. I am sure the supporters are excited and I would be disappointed if you were not because this is what it is all about but for the team and myself it is all about the next game and tonight that means taking on Sparta Prague. Hopefully we will give a good account of ourselves again.”



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This article has been automatically translated and, while all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, some errors in translation are possible. Please refer to the original English-language version of the article for the official version.